Drogheda Independent

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St Oliver's CC at forefront of building better days for youth of Drogheda

The TV cameras have gone, the front pages have eased, the glare of the world has lessened and soon, the election will be over and the canvassers gone.

But around southside Drogheda, the pain and the fear is as real as ever and that won't disappear as quickly as the media storm that gripped this area over the last number of weeks.

Normality is a word that is hard to put into practice in a school like St Oliver's.

It's massive, by Irish standards, and way before the events of recent weeks, human tragedy has left its mark on students and teachers alike in recent months.

Last Friday, Bishop Tom Deenihan called to the Ollies, the Marys and Sacred Heart to offer words of support, a simple visit from a soft spoken man sometimes is all that you want at times.

'St Oliver's is providing a great service to all in the community. It is a safe haven, a constant safe space in terms of support.

'Kids are under significant pressure at this time and I wanted to acknowledge the work of the teachers who are doing a great job on behalf of the community,' Bishop Deenihan stated.

For principal John Halpin, such a visit recognises the work being done and the support from others who can see the results.

'We see ourselves as a reflection of the entire community of Drogheda. We want to give structure and success to students, that's our reason for being,' he stated. 'It is a challenge, but one we meet quite well and successfully.'

He knows the role the teachers are playing in the area and encouraging a new generation of young people.

'The students we have will be the bedrock of society for the future.

'We will help and guide them and they'll serve their community well.'

In difficult and sometimes fearful times, it has been the reaction of the students to adversity that has pleased him.

'We are heartened by the quality of young people, their compassion and their empathy for each other. Even in times of adversity we see it coming through.'

He says it is one of the 'joys of the job' to encounter such people and it's that spirit that drives on the ethos of St Oliver's.

Drogheda Independent